Linux Blog

Checking your battery life from the shell

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Hardware,Quick Linux Tutorials — at 8:46 am on Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I’ve often thought to my self “Wouldn’t knowing how much battery life I had be nice.”

Now when a window manager is open, this isn’t a problem. But when your just in a terminal it can be a bit of a problem. If you don’t get the gist of it heres an example, if I’m just in a terminal writing an article, or programming in VIM on battery life. Now I no longer have to execute the following command and guess how much life I have left:

 cat /proc/acpi/battery/BAT1/state

I simply run the command:


It tells me all kinds of information about my power usage, what the current temperature is, am I plugged in, what CPU governor I’m using. Its a really neat tool. I would recommend for everyone to install it. Worst case scenario it can be used when the system is undergoing maintenance, or if you left your box sitting in the other room and need to check the battery live via SSH. Check out the screenshot:

YACPI Screenshot

To install it it will vary by distribution. I’m sure Debian has it in its XXXX number of packages which means Ubuntu probably has it too. To install on other distributions such as Gentoo or Slackware you’ll need the source. You can acquire the source from here:
You’ll also need libacpi which can be found here:
Make sure you compile libacpi first, or the make will fail for yacpi.

That’s it, once you download the package and install or download and compile the source you’re good to go. Have a good time checking the battery life from the shell. Try doing that in DOS!